If you have been reading the blog for the last week or so, because of my series on baptism with the Holy Spirit, you might be forgiven for thinking that I was just a raving charismatic. The truth is, I am eager to emphasize the work of the Holy Spirit. But that is not all I want to stress here. As I once said in a previous post, “I Don’t Want Balance . . . I Want It All.”
I thought, therefore, that I would take this opportunity to share a quote from Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones on the work of the Holy Spirit and the Bible. He is speaking about when the Apostles were praying in Acts 4:31.
“When they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost.” What did that lead to? “They spake the word of God with boldness.” We must never separate these two: “the Holy Spirit,” “the word of God.” If we ever do, we shall go astray.
Some people put their emphasis only on the “word.” These are the intellectuals. “Ah,” they say, “nothing matters but the word.” They spend their time reading and studying, and they become authorities on theology. As a result, they may become proud of their own great knowledge, and they may get the admiration of others who join in with them, but this is nothing but a little mutual admiration society. Nobody is converted; nobody is convicted. Heads packed with knowledge and understanding only—useless! “Word only,” you see.
And there are people who put the whole of their emphasis on the Holy Spirit. They are not interested in the Word. They say, “It doesn’t matter what a person believes.” I heard of a man recently who shouted out in a great meeting, “Let yourselves go! Let yourselves go!” And they did let themselves go, I am told. But the New Testament has never told anybody to let himself go. Never! The Holy Spirit does not merely produce an experience; the Holy Spirit uses the Word. He is the Spirit of truth, the Spirit of enlightenment. He is the Spirit who leads to understanding. We must never jettison the intellect God has given us. The Holy Spirit can deal with our brains as well as with any other part of us. It is a false teaching that urges people to let themselves go. If you do that, you are letting yourself go to a riot of the imagination and of the feelings. You are letting yourself go to evil spirits and powers that are around and about you and ever ready to possess you and to use you and to fool you. The Spirit and the Word! “They spake the word of God.” I repeat, the Word and the Spirit must never be separated.
Here is the work and the function of the Holy Spirit. He takes these facts—the wonderful works of God, the things that the apostles had seen and heard—and then shows their meaning. Christian preaching is not merely exhortation; it is not merely appeal; it is the recital of facts. The Holy Spirit enables people to bear witness to the facts, and then He shows their meaning and their significance to those listening.”
David Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Courageous Christianity, 1st U.S. edition, Crossway Books, Wheaton, Illinois, 2001, p. 193.